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Notes on #FluentConf 2013

I’ve had a couple of days now to digest FluentConf. It was definitely interesting, and I had a few particular favorites. I put all of my pithy notes in a Github repo if you’d like to explore them (I don’t take many notes).

Someone on Twitter asked what I thought of the conference as they weren’t impressed last year. Here are a few things I noticed from talking to attendees to take into account.

First, you always, always, have to be willing to abandon a session if it’s clear you aren’t going to learn anything. On workshop day, I went to two sessions before I went to a third and found a cool tool that I’ll actually use, despite showing up 90 minutes into the session. From my personal perspective as someone who does speak at conferences, I’d much rather you get up and leave and find something that helps you learn, rather than feel like you’re being rude if you leave my session. I believe (or hope at least) other speakers feel the same way.

Second, be careful about sponsored sessions. Since Fluent is a big conf that has lots of sponsorship, it’s a little inevitable that they have some shilling allowed, so it’s your job to figure out if the speaker is going to be good about teaching you more than they’re selling you early in the session. If you don’t want to be sold to, and they’re selling, see the first tip and GTFO.

If anything, I feel like I didn’t take advantage of enough opportunities to meet new folks. I formed dinner groups each night, but partially because Fluent is in SF, a lot of people were off visiting people or taking meetings (which hey, what can I say, I went early to do the same thing). Definitely something I should’ve worked on, and probably should’ve tweeted up more.

I believe I’d recommend Fluent to someone thinking about it — if it fits into your schedule and you want to hit up a JavaScript conf (that’s not JSConf), many of the attendees I spoke with seemed to really enjoy it.

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